Free Tibet statement on arrests reported in Tibet connected to self-immolation protests

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Free Tibet statement on arrests reported in Tibet connected to self-immolation protests:

Over the last few weeks, Chinese authorities in Tibet have responded to the self-immolation protests with bribes (1), collective punishments (2), propaganda (3), show trials (4) and now mass arrests (5). We have already seen one suspended death sentence for allegedly inciting self-immolations and harsh sentences for seven other individuals. The rule of law is a fiction in Tibet and the confessions on which these convictions are based could well be the result of threats, reprisals on local communities and even torture (6). At the same time, state media – including English-language services - are broadcasting propaganda pieces laying blame at the door of exile Tibetans and even Western media (7).

China’s strategy is an ugly mixture of repression and PR and it won’t work. Protests of all kinds in Tibet are a response to the actions of the Chinese government and they will inevitably continue until China recognises that fact.

For more information contact Alistair Currie:
T: +44 207 324 4605

Notes for editors

1. Further, recent evidence available from Free Tibet

2. Evidence available from Free Tibet

3. Chinese state media CCTV broadcast a documentary about self-immolations in Kanhlo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Chinese: Gannan) in Chinese and English this week. English version available online

4. Reports on sentencing of Tibetans for involvement in self-immolation protests.
Images and footage from trials used in Chinese state media

5. 7 February Chinese media report on 70 arrests

6. United Nations Committee on Torture has reported that torture is “widespread” and “routine” in China and Tibet. Further information on reprisals available from Free Tibet

7. The CCTV programme broadcast this week accused Voice of America radio of inciting self-immolations. See VOA response